The optical modulation spectrometer (OMS) is a novel, highly efficient, low mass backend for heterodyne receiver systems. Current and future heterodyne receiver systems operating at frequencies up to a few THz require broadband spectrometer backends to achieve spectral resolutions of R approximately 10(exp 5) to 10(exp 6) to carry out many important astronomical investigations. Among these are observations of broad emission and absorption lines from extra-galactic objects at high redshifts, spectral line surveys, and observations of planetary atmospheres. Many of these lines are pressure or velocity broadened with either large half-widths or line wings extending over several GHz. Current backend systems can cover the needed bandwidth only by combining the output of several spectrometers, each with typically up to 1 GHz bandwidth, or by combining several frequency-shifted spectra taken with a single spectrometer. An ultra-wideband optical modulation spectrometer with 10 - 40 GHz bandwidth will enable broadband ob- servations without the limitations and disadvantages of hybrid spectrometers. Spectrometers like the OMS will be important for both ground-based observatories and future space missions like the Single Aperture Far-Infrared Telescope (SAFIR) which might carry IR/submm array heterodyne receiver systems requiring a spectrometer for each array pixel. Small size, low mass and small power consumption are extremely important for space missions. This report summarizes the specifications developed for the OMS and lists already identified commercial parts. The report starts with a review of the principle of operation, then describes the most important components and their specifications which were derived from theory, and finishes with a conclusion and outlook.